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Graphic image from Giving Tuesday 2022

The sweat rolls down my face as I try to hold back the tears. I dropped two dozen turkey themed cupcakes for my daughter’s Thanksgiving school party. My hands are covered in brown and orange frosting and I’m doing everything I can to keep my composure and not lose it in the preschool parking lot. Happy Thanksgiving…ugh! 

Is it just me or do the holidays bring on a new and elevated level of stress, pressure and expectations in addition to joy, magic and family time throughout the season? Maybe it’s the “Insta-worthy” table setting displays and the suffocation from flash sales all while juggling work and the growing holiday “to-do” list that push me over my limits.  

If you are like me, you can easily get swept up in the holiday hustle instead of taking a beat and leaning into the true meaning of the season. Spending time with the ones you love, honoring family traditions and pouring into those in need.  

More this year, I’ve found myself talking to my four-year-old about “little boys and girls that might not have toys, or might not have a refrigerator filled with food, or might not play on a soccer team.” It is hard for her to wrap her head around not having her basic and advanced needs met, and yet as adults we know that there are kids, families and seniors going without, or with very little, every day.  

I think that is why I enjoy the international philanthropic day following Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Giving Tuesday! It allows and encourages us to kick off our holiday season with other’s needs in mind. It challenges us to consider the good we can do in our local community or across the nation. It inspires us to start a ripple of positive change that can transform lives of people we will never meet. It is the reason for the season.  

There are countless ways to get involved on Giving Tuesday, for example: 

  • Make a donation toward a cause of your choice, like the Y 

  • Establish a volunteer commitment for that day or a future day 

  • Give your voice through public advocacy  

  • Promote health in your community 

  • Support the arts 

  • Become a youth sports volunteer  

  • Give blood 

  • Help animals  

  • Show gratitude  

  • Donate food 

  • Recycle  

  • Become a mentor  

The holidays are much more than turkey themed cupcakes, sweet potatoes and Black Friday sales, the holidays are a celebration of humanity, of generosity and hope. I encourage you to consider how you can make a positive ripple in your community on Giving Tuesday this year.  

Image of Tera Thomas

Tera Thomas serves as the YMCA of Greater Omaha's Vice President of Advancement and has had a career within the YMCA in multiple states for over 18 years. Since 2003, she has helped to strengthen communities in Omaha, Iowa, Colorado and Kansas. She has held a variety of operational and association support roles and is very passionate about ensuring everyone has access to YMCA programs and services regardless of their background.